Malaysia — THE state Fire and Rescue Department is ready to deal with potential forest fires following the recent revelation that Perak would be one of the states hardest hit by the second wave of dry spell.
State Fire and Rescue Department chief Yahaya Madis said they were already putting in place contingency plans for the five-month period which begins in the middle of next month.
The previous dry spell, which blazed through Perak for the first three months of the year, had hit the department hard with 2,614 blazes as compared to 244 fires in the same period last year.
Out of this total, 2,194 cases were reported last month alone.
Yahaya confirmed that the rise in forest fires was caused by the spike in temperatures, adding that the department had already detailed a number of precautionary measures ahead of the second heat wave.
“The department will be acquiring 11 additional water tanker lorries from our headquarters to supplement the state’s three existing water tanker vehicles,” he said after the department’s monthly gathering here recently.
He said that the water tankers — expected to arrive in June — would have a capacity of 20,000 litres of water each.
Yahaya also said the department’s operations would not be affected by any water rationing exercise, if any.
“In case of any large-scale water rationing exercise, the Perak Water Board (LAP) has assured us that we will be provided with sufficient water supply,” he said, adding that this contingency plan was discussed during the recent Taiping water rationing exercise.
When asked about the cause of the forest fires, Yahaya said almost all forest fires here were caused solely by human activities.
“In Malaysia, there is almost no theoretical basis or physical evidence to show that these forest fires broke out naturally which means that the fires were started by man.”
Yahaya said the department would raise more public awareness of the matter by increasing its civil awareness unit’s activities.
He advised the public to be cautious and guard against activities that could spark fires, whether in urban or rural areas.
He also said the Fire and Rescue Department would be holding discussions with the enforcement bodies to charge those who illegally start fire or commit arson.